Villagers say authorities haven’t been serious about addressing the shortage
In Nyimzhong village in Korphu, Trongsa, water shortage is severe. Each household owns a tap, but from it comes no water. So it has been for the last seven years.
Villagers go to Monmagangchu, a stream about 20 minutes’ walk away from the village, to fetch water for cooking, bathing and washing. This, the villagers say, is a punishing problem.
An hour’s walk away from the village, there is an irrigation channel the water from which can supply water to all 67 households and more. But, landslides and flash floods damage the channel every now and then.
Adula, a 59-year-old farmer, said that during winter and spring seasons, the villagers face a lot of problems due to shortage of drinking water. And during the summer, it is difficult to locate the source of the water because of the damage caused by landslides and floods.
The villagers began facing the problem of water shortage since 2004, said Adula. The issue was reported several times to the gewog office. Budget was sanctioned to build a water tank near the source but it was not enough to complete the project, say the villagers.
Farmland in Nyimshong is fed with water from Monmagangchu, the only source of water in the village. For more water for cultivation, farmers have to depend on seasonal rainfall. Even if water source above the village is maintained, it would not be sufficient for cultivation.
Pema Khandu, 45, another farmer from the village, said that new government should look into the matter and sanction adequate budget to build a water tank so that the people will have enough to water to drink and irrigate.
“The former gup did not take this issue seriously,” said Pema Khandu. “The problem should have long been solved.”
Former Gup Wangda, however, said that such problems are not made by the local government. “It is the carelessness of people that has given rise to this problem of water shortage,” he said. He also claimed that villagers did not show up for the construction of the tank. “It is because of their laziness, not due to lack of budget,” he said. “There is a good water source further above the present one. Villagers preferred the present water source because the distance is much shorter from the village. It is a problem they invited themselves.”
Villagers face the shortage of drinking water, especially from December to end of April.
Korphu Gup Tsheltrim Dorji said the government issued both pipe and cement for the construction of a permanent water tank. “Water tank was constructed twice, but due to heavy rainfall in summer, it was washed away,” he said. “We will take up the issue in the upcoming GewogTshogde meeting. If the government does not have budget for the construction of a water tank, villagers might have to contribute a certain amount of money for the construction.”
According to the fourth State of the Nation report, the proportion of population with access to safe drinking water increased from 69 percent in 2008 to 94 percent in 2011 with improvements particularly in rural areas. However, the fifth State of the Nation report said that 1,182 rural water supply schemes have been put in place or removed against the target of 1,004. The figure, it said, will keep fluctuating as many water sources are drying or shrinking owing to climate change, and as many new homes are being built away from where water supply is made available.